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Recent research shows that bots can communicate better and faster than humans

It seems that almost every day, pundits warn us about the dangers of implementing AI-based apps too quickly. One oft-cited Oxford University study predicted that nearly half of total US jobs could be lost through automation. But fear not, when it comes to automation in the context of higher education. Because here, AI-powered messaging apps are actually a very good thing.

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These apps significantly lower administrative costs while also raising student satisfaction and enrollment rates. Specifically, these apps have:

Lower service costs. Schools just need to pay for the ‘startup’ costs of their chatbots and related apps. Very few human support agents are needed since they only handle complicated or ‘escalation’ questions.

Lightning-fast response times. Human agents simply can’t respond as fast to questions on websites and social channels as automated apps can. Well-coded bots can handle multiple questions at the same time.

Higher engagement scores on social media. Since students don’t have to wait for a response from university social media monitors, they get instant responses on their favorite social channels.

From the student perspective, these messaging apps fit with how Gen-Z teens want to be helped, which is:

On their smartphones, through texts and messaging.

Wherever they are, at any time of day.

Via smart apps, so they don’t have to ask dumb questions.

Developing and deploying these apps sounds like a clear win-win to me.

Which application stages to automate

The first phase of a prospective college student’s application process involves researching ‘best fit’ colleges, then completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This is is a tedious process, so I won’t get into that here. I’ll instead focus on the ‘application, acceptance and enrollment’ phases of the new student journey.

Here’s a high-level summary of these phases, and some example steps for each:

Application

Decide which schools to apply to (a separate process in itself).

Complete the FAFSA form and submit to all schools. If applicable, also complete and submit the CSS (non-federal) aid form.

Complete and send applications to all applicable schools by the due dates.

If the student is admitted, handoff to the Acceptance phase.

Acceptance

Notify the student when they are accepted.

Notify the student of any financial aid offered (grants, scholarships, etc.).

Persuade the prospective student to accept admission (clearly a marketing activity, and one that most schools neglect).

If the student accepts, handoff to Enrollment phase.

Enrollment

Inform the student of what they need to do next administratively.

Inform the student of what payments (tuition, room, board, etc.) are due, and when.

Help the student with the course selection and signup process – for their first term and perhaps first full year. Of course, this varies based on whether or not the student knows their major.

Address the student’s logistical needs (e.g. prompting the student to schedule a campus orientation session, explaining the process of getting a dorm room, suggesting social groups to join, etc.).

While this isn’t a complete list, you can see that all of these steps are well defined and therefore automatable.

Automating course sign-up

On many college campuses throughout the US, signing up for classes is a challenge, with cumbersome website interfaces, difficult-to-use search features, and systems that often slow or crash due to high traffic on class registration days.

Bots can help streamline the process by providing up-to-date information about available classes and even suggesting which classes a student should take to fill the necessary requirements. Based on the student’s major/minor, prior classes taken, and academic interests, a well-coded bot could quickly create a suggested schedule.

In addition, for large campuses, bots could warn students when travel time between classes could lead to issues and suggest alternative class times that would better fit their schedules logistically.

Case Study: Pounce – conversation AI system at Georgia State University

A January 2023 article in the Harvard Business Review, by researchers Lindsay Page and Hunter Gehlbach, showed the benefit of using a conversational AI-based messaging at Georgia State University (GSU). They wanted to know if their messaging app, nicknamed ‘Pounce’ (after their school mascot) could effectively support would-be freshman as they transitioned to college.

The college transition obviously provides special challenges. For example, after acceptance into college, students must navigate a lot of well-defined but challenging tasks including completing financial aid applications, submitting a final high school transcript, obtaining immunizations, accepting student loans, and paying tuition, among others. Students who fail at these tasks may succumb to what’s called ‘summer melt,’ the situation where students who accepted admission to a college fail to enroll in courses and pay their first tuition installment.

Page and Gehlbach found that students planning to go to GSU who received Pounce outreach completed their required pre-matriculation tasks and enrolled on-time at significantly higher rates than those who received GSU’s standard outreach. Pounce reduced GSU’s summer melt by 21%. Best of all, these student interventions were done with far fewer staff.

Chatbot-based lead capture

Think about it, where is a prospective student going to go to learn about the experience at each university of interest? They’re likely to first visit social media (like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter), chat with friends or visit the school’s website. In each of these places you, as a marketer, need to first discover, and then inform, your prospective students about the things they care about most.

The content, images, and videos you post to your website and social channels should proactively answer the top questions and concerns you hear from prospective and recently enrolled students. You can discover these by analyzing, either manually or with the aid of a text mining app, their chat dialogs, posts on social media, and direct interactions they’ve had with your Admissions department.

“I see that you’re checking out our school. Here’s a short video showing what student life is like at XYZ University. Check it out!”

“I see that you’re considering a Psychology major. Great! Here’s a short video showing a day in the life of a Psych major at XYZ University.”

These examples show that your bot should ‘speak’ like a real, helpful human at your university would.

The ultimate goal of your lead generation efforts, of course, is to persuade your prospects to keep moving down your lead-nurturing funnel. In the higher education market, video marketing should definitely be part of your arsenal.

For example, after a prospect views a ‘teaser’ portion of the video (e.g. the first 15 seconds) you could ask, ‘What would you like to do next?’

Meet some Psychology Dept professors

See which careers Psychology majors can pursue

Learn about related Liberal Arts majors

On these videos, embed a call to action (CTA) button or layer that takes the prospect further down your lead-nurturing funnel, such as to a landing page focused on this lead type.

Examples of video CTAs are:

‘Download this video’. Require a mobile number to complete the download. Clearly explain that you won’t send any ‘spam’ messages.

If you decide to link to web pages instead of videos, make sure they’re focused landing pages. Use clear forms that show the value of the information, and include trust-building logos and copy. Ask your prospects to download videos, guides, ‘day in the life,’ or other popular content.

Don’t ask for emails on your lead-generation forms; teenage prospects won’t want to type that in, nor will they want to get these emails. Instead, pre-populate their mobile number from their phone’s SIM card.

Next, after sending your prospective students a couple of texts with informative and trust-building content, send another text giving your recipients the option to receive additional emails. This email capture should then trigger your personalized content marketing to spring into action.

Example: Clemson University

After viewing this video, they press the ‘Find Your Defining Moment at Clemson’ copy and continue to the ‘Clemson Moments’ YouTube channel.

Let smart messaging apps be your student’s guide

If you clearly define your student admission, acceptance and enrollment processes, automated messaging apps can be more friend than nemesis. They’ll significantly lower your overhead costs, while at the same time providing better and faster answers to your prospective students’ most-asked questions.

Best of all, by proactively supporting your new students, you’ll convince more of them to become happily enrolled, tuition-paying students.

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Best Offline Messaging Apps For Iphone In 2023

All the messaging services we use in our daily, regular life rely on the internet to work. However, many messaging apps let you communicate without cellular data or Wi-Fi. These apps either use the phones’ Bluetooth or use a combination of Bluetooth, open Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi direct, etc., to create a mesh network and transmit messages from one person to another. If you are looking for one such app, here are the best free offline messaging apps for iPhone that you can use without the internet.

1. Two Way: Walkie Talkie

Should you prefer to have a simple offline communication app that can let you communicate in a live walkie-walkie style, I would recommend you check out “Two Way: Walkie Talkie”. What makes it so handy is that it doesn’t require an email account or even your phone number.

Just tune in to a random channel and share it with your buddies. Once that’s done, you can just press and hold the big Talk button and speak out the message. While it works pretty well, it lacks encryption and doesn’t offer the needed privacy to messages.

Moreover, Two Way: Walkie Talkie is open, which means anyone who bumps into the same channel can secretly listen to your conversation. If you don’t mind this loophole, it can turn out to be quite useful, especially when you wish to stay connected to your buddies.

2. Bridgefy

Bridgefy is another well-known app that lets you communicate using Bluetooth. This makes it ideal for natural disasters, traveling abroad in groups, rural communities, music festivals, sports stadiums, and more. There are four ways to communicate using this offline chat app. They are Person to Person Mode, Mesh Mode, Broadcast Mode, and finally Online Mode.

Person to Person Mode uses iPhone’s Bluetooth and lets you chat privately with friends who are within 330 feet of you. Mesh Mode is exciting as it allows you to chat with people even if they are more than 330 feet away. It does so by creating a mesh network. Let us say you (A) want to chat with person C, who is 600 feet away. Usually, this isn’t possible. But say, if a person B is in the middle of you both, it is possible for you to communicate privately with C. Person B in the middle (or anybody else in the network) won’t be able to read the message you send and receive to/from C.

3. Air Chat

Air Chat is a clean, beautiful, and straightforward app that lets you send encrypted text messages to nearby people. For this, it uses the iPhones’ Bluetooth, and as a result, no mobile data or Wi-Fi is required. When you launch the app, it automatically detects people around you who are using the app. After this, you can start chatting once you complete a simple pop-up verification.

Air Chat also supports Bluetooth notification that works in background and alerts you when you receive a new message. You also have the option to turn off the notification or only turn off the previews. The app is easy to use, and there is no phone or email verification. It just works!

4. Text nearBy

Are you in a plane with no internet connection and your friend is sitting apart? Are you in a school with internet jammed, and you wish to chat with your girlfriend during a boring lecture? Whatever be your situation, Text nearBy lets you chat with people in your home, school, work, plane, etc. For this, it uses no Cell or Wi-Fi. Instead, it relies on phones’ Bluetooth.

To use this offline chat app, you do not need a phone number, email address, or any other account. There are a few excellent standby features like automatic deletion of messages after an hour, no transmission of messages via any server, etc. You can use this cute, little offline texting app to chat safely with kids in your family.

5. Peer Chat

First, you download this app (obviously). You enter your name or any name you wish. Now, wait for your nearby friend to open this app on their phone and follow the same steps. After that, from the list, tap on the person’s name. After the person accepts, you can start chatting. Using the plus icon from top-right, you can add six more invitees and talk together.

Peer Chat uses Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections to work, and thus it needs no data plan. The app is effortless and straightforward to use. However, in my testing, I found that it is not as reliable as other apps on this list because it frequently showed that the connection had been lost. All texts transmitted via this 4 MB app are encrypted, and no data is logged.

Another similar app you can try is Divvy – Offline Communication. It also has inbuilt TicTacToe that you can play with your connected friend.

Why would you like to use offline messaging apps?

When there is internet shutdown during protests like in Hong Kong recently

If you are in a place with unsecure and untrusted Wi-Fi

Use it to chat with kids in your family. Or kids can use it to chat offline with their friends from the same building

Handy for secure, offline chat among office members, events, etc

Wrapping up…

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Jignesh

Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of chúng tôi who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting content on social media.

How To Make Your Smart Home More Secure

How to Make Your Smart Home More Secure

Here we bring the solution to stay safe by setting up a secure network and by filling up all the security gaps.

Also Read: Tips To Protect Your Home Assistant

How to Secure your Smart Home 1. Secure your network: 2. Know your smart device:

Understanding your smart device is the first step to stay secure. You need to know the capabilities of the device. There are certain smart devices that can listen to whatever you say, so disabling these features is what is required. But you can do so only when you know what the device does. Also check the privacy and security setting and change then according to the usage and your needs. Plus, install updates whenever you receive a notification. Not doing so, you may fall a victim to cyber-attack.

3. Run a security software:

Not all the security software can protect your smart device. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run one. An antivirus program is a must for your PC, Mac, tablet and smartphone, as it can block any malicious threat that my try to access your device. When using a security software always make it a point to update it whenever you receive a notification. Also, you can enable automatic update so that you don’t miss on any update. These updates are released to patch your system from any security vulnerability.

4. Secure your smartphone:

Imagine if your unlocked device falls into wrong hands then what harm it can cause. They can get into your house, can control your device and what not. Therefore, you need to keep your phone locked and read the Privacy Policy of all the apps that you install. This is to know what all information they collect.

Also Read: 5 Security Threats You Need To Be Aware Of

These steps will surely help you to stay safe. Until there is a sure short way that will make your smart home secure its only you who can ensure safety of your data. Now it’s up to you to device how secure you want your smart home to be. The sooner you will start more secure you will be and be ready for attacks in future. However, it depends on how serious you take this and how do you want the things to go. Your decision of today will make the future and will tell how secure your data is from being attacked.

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9 Of The Most Popular Messaging Apps In 2023

Popular messaging apps are a great way for businesses to talk to their customers one-on-one and provide fast customer service.

Want to slide into your customer’s DMs? There’s an app for that.

Social messaging apps are now essential communication tools. And not just for individual social media users — for brands, too.

Social media is a great way to get your message out onto the sweet, sweet worldwide web, but if you’re looking for a more intimate connection with your fans and followers — and a way to offer best-in-class social media customer service — it’s time to get acquainted with the most popular messaging apps.

Reduce response time (and your workload)

Manage all your messages stress-free with easy routing, saved replies, and friendly chatbots. Try Hootsuite’s Inbox today.

Book a Demo

What are social messaging apps?

Social messaging apps are programs on your phone or computer that allow you to chat privately with one or many other users. Many include video chat.

Unlike SMS and text messages, you are connected via the internet, not through phone reception. As long as you’ve got delicious WiFi or 3G access on tap, you can message to your heart’s desire.

Social messaging apps are often connected to social media platforms so that you can send messages to other social media users. For instance, Messenger is a social messaging app that is tied to Facebook — if someone is asking for customer service help on a Facebook post on your Business Page, you can take the conversation out of the public eye and into a private conversation on Messenger to resolve.

So discrete! So sophisticated! Miss Manners would be delighted.

Bonus: Get a free, easy-to-use Customer Service Report Template that helps you track and calculate your monthly customer service efforts all in one place.

9 most popular messaging apps in 2023

In 2023, there are almost too many ways to get in touch with someone. (Thank goodness it’s no longer possible to Poke someone on Facebook or we’d be downright overwhelmed.)

The good news is it’s not necessary to be on every social messaging app. Instead, think about what your specific target market uses most and focus your attention there. But it’s good practice for social media marketers to understand the full landscape of options, so here’s a breakdown of the nine most popular social messaging apps for 2023.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is the most-used social messaging app in the world, with more than 2 billion global users. It’s a great way to reach a huge swath of people and use conversation to deliver personal experiences—hopefully speeding up the buyer journey along the way.

With WhatsApp, you can use chatbots to answer customer FAQs, set up automated push notifications, or respond personally to questions to create an intimate shopping experience.

WhatsApp may be the most popular app in the world, but it does have a smaller reach in certain regions. Before you go all-in on a WhatsApp experience, make sure it’s a good fit for your own customer base. Check out some fascinating stats about WhatsApp here.

Messenger

Messenger has a huge reach in the U.S. and Canada, so if the North American market is important to your business, Messenger may be the best social messaging app for you. (Though that’s not to say global brands can’t benefit: over 1.3 billion users around use Messenger to stay connected with friends and family — and businesses.)

Messenger can be set up with conversational chatbots. Facebook’s Shopping feature can be integrated into Messenger too, allowing users to complete a purchase directly in the chat.

Another cool feature of Messenger is that your response time is showcased right on your Facebook Business page, so consumers know exactly what level of customer service to expect. Explore Facebook Messenger stats here.

WeChat

WeChat is the super-star of China’s app world. It has more than one billion users and is used by 78% of 16 to 64-year-olds in the country. It features thousands and thousands of add-on programs and features within it. The company has tried to launch the platform outside of China but hasn’t got much traction.

If China is a big part of your target market, WeChat is a must for your business.

WeChat is also used as a payment tool, making it a natural fit for conversational commerce. Businesses can market on WeChat either by requesting an Official Account or partnering with third parties.

If you have an Official Account, you can create content on WeChat and directly interact with and sell to your followers and customers.

Over 100 countries (including Canada) can now apply for an Official Account, even if they don’t hold a Chinese Business License.

Learn more about using WeChat for business here.

QQ

QQ is another messaging app primarily used in China, though it almost seems tiny compared to WeChat, with a mere 574 million users. (The two are owned by the same parent company, Tencent.)

It’s more popular with a younger demographic, so if Gen Z is of interest to your brand, this may be a social messaging tool to explore. QQ also features games and blog services.

Snapchat

As of 2023, Snapchat is still one of the top 15 most-used social media platforms in the world. Though most famous for its disappearing videos and photos, U.S. businesses can use Snap as a text-based chat tool as well… and one that will connect you directly to a prime audience of Gen Z shoppers.

Snapchatters can swipe up on a story to visit a business’s website or download an app, or they can also swipe up to call or text the business from their mobile device.

Users are 60% more likely to make an impulse purchase on this platform, so this seems like a pretty great spot to have a conversation. Snap’s new desktop feature makes it possible to manage your chats from your computer, not just your phone.

New to Snapchat? Dive into our Snapchat beginners’ guide here.

Google Business Messaging

Google My Business Messaging is a free messenger tool that helps customers get in touch with you in real-time, straight from your Google Business Profile listing.

The pro? Potential customers can chat with you right from your Google Maps or Google Search listing. The cons? This isn’t a tool they’re necessarily using to contact their family and friends, so the usage isn’t exactly as familiar and comfortable as using a more common app.

Still, it probably can’t hurt to set up Google My Business Messaging. Messages can come right to your phone or desktop so you can easily respond to queries wherever you are.

More on setting up your Google Business Profile here.

Instagram DMs

Instagram is a photo- and video-sharing app on the surface, but it’s also emerged as an extremely popular chat tool, too. Businesses that have a presence on this app — which, by the way, boasts 1.22 billion global users — are likely going to have more than a few followers sliding into their DMs. So you may as well prepare a customer service strategy for dealing with them.

Forty-four percent of Instagram users shop on the app weekly, so that’s a great reason to want to make yourself available for chit-chat. Instagram also has helpful quick-reply tools that make it simple to address frequently asked questions.

Messages on Instagram can be text-based or photos and videos (which can include effects and captions).

For brands and creators, sending direct messages can be a good way to build personal relationships with followers, reach out to potential partners, or provide support to customers with questions or feedback.

Line

Line is a popular social messaging app in Japan (92 million users live there, out of a total of 178 million worldwide), that also offers far more than just a chat function. With the app, you can send money to friends, shop online, stream music, or order a taxi — a super-app, much like China’s WeChat.

Line features a timeline and homepage, similar to Facebook or Instagram, allowing users to follow the posts of their friends and brands. “Official Channels” are where companies can share updates with followers.

Line users can create group chats with up to 500 people and also create bulletin boards for discussion, making it a great app for brands to connect with relevant communities and fandoms.

One of Line’s most unique features is the popularity of stickers. Digital illustrations are often sent back and forth via chat and happen to be a huge revenue stream for Line. Brands interested in being on Line might want to consider releasing their own sticker pack, or at least learning how users frequently put gifs stickers to use.

Viber

There are 70 million interactions on Viber every hour and users in 190-plus countries. So if you haven’t heard of Viber yet, it might be time to listen up.

Viber also allows businesses to segment existing and prospective customers to be more specific with messaging. Purchases can be made directly on Viber as well.

Why use social messaging apps for your business?

Okay, you know what a social messaging app is. You know which social messaging apps are pop-u-lar. But if you’re going to commit to using social messaging apps for your business, you probably want to know the why.

We gotchu: here are the reasons your brand may want to embrace social messaging.

Customers are already on these social messaging apps

If you want to have a conversation with someone, you need to be where they are. You can’t chat up that cutie at the cocktail party if she’s hanging in the kitchen and you’ve gotten yourself trapped in the ensuite (again), right?

A predicted 3.51 billion people worldwide will be using messaging apps in 2025 — WhatsApp alone already has more than two billion of those active users.

Social messaging apps are what everyday people are using to message their friends and families. Why not make their lives a little easier and be available there, too?

It’s a speedy way to offer service

Ninety percent of consumers say that speedy resolution is the most important thing in a positive customer service experience. But if you’re understaffed or overwhelmed by messages, it may actually be a struggle to keep up with the speed social media users expect from chat apps — because those messages are coming in fast and furious. For instance, on Facebook Messenger, 20 billion messages are exchanged between customers and businesses every single month.

Tech like conversational chatbots can step in to fill that gap and field common questions, so you can save the (hu)man power for tackling more intricate customer service issues. More about the benefits of chatbots here.

Tap into the power of conversational commerce

Having an actual conversation with someone is a classic IRL sales tool — ‘conversational commerce’ is the digital equivalent.

Conversational commerce refers to the sweet spot between shopping and messaging apps. Consumers can use social messaging tools to get recommendations, ask questions, get support, and chat with company reps.

They might be messaging with a real human being or a conversational AI chatbot, but either way, it’s a new way of shopping that’s extremely lucrative for businesses. Global spending via conversational commerce channels is predicted to reach $290 billion in the next two years.

If your brand wants a piece of that pie, it’s time to enter the chat.

Connect with customers — and critics — one on one

Running a business with an online presence means that you have a potentially global reach… which also can make it tricky to have a personal conversation in the same way you could in a brick-and-mortar shop or even over the phone.

The rise of social messaging apps has given brands a direct line to every single far-flung follower.

This offers an amazing opportunity to build intimacy and loyalty with special customers, brand ambassadors, or potential partners… and a chance to connect directly with your critics to diffuse tense situations outside of the public eye.

If you’re facing a social media crisis or have an upset customer blasting all your posts, social messaging tools can help you reach out directly in hopes of turning a tantrum into a conversation.

An app for all your social media messages in one place

Okay, you’ve digested all this delicious information, and you’re ready to dive into using social messaging apps for your brand.

Pro tip: Juggling multiple conversations across multiple platforms managed by multiple people and teams is hard. You’re going to want a unified social inbox to keep everything neat, tidy, and easy.

And, if we may be so bold, we know that Hootsuite Inbox is just the tool for the job.

With Hootsuite Inbox, you can bridge the gap between social media engagement and customer service — and manage all of your social media messages in one place. This includes:

Private messages and DMs

Public messages and posts on your profiles

Mentions

Emoji reactions

… and more.

The all-in-one agent workspace makes it easy to 

Track the history of any individual’s interactions with your brand on social media (across your accounts and platforms), giving your team the context needed to personalize replies

Add notes to customers’ profiles (Inbox integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics)

Handle messages as a team, with intuitive message queues, task assignments, statuses, and filters

Track response times and CSAT metrics

Book a free demo

Plus, Inbox comes with handy automations:

Automated message routing

Auto-responses and saved replies

Automatically triggered customer satisfaction surveys

AI-powered chatbot features

In other words: it’s a universal inbox that compiles all your public and private messages to make sure you never miss a thing. Try out a free 30-day trial here and see for yourself, or learn more about Hootsuite Inbox here.

FAQs about popular messaging apps What is the most widely used messaging app?

WhatsApp is the most popular global messenger app. In January 2023, WhatsApp had 2 billion monthly active users. WeChat is in distant second place, with just 1.2 billion monthly active users; Facebook Messenger rolls in to snag third place with 988 million.

Source: Statista

Which is the No. 1 chatting app?

WhatsApp is the number one most popular chatting app in the world, according to Statista research. With 2 billion monthly active users, it’s the most-used social messaging app across the globe.

That being said, different regions of the world tend to prefer different apps. For instance, in China, WeChat dominates the market, while the social messaging tool LINE is popular in countries like Japan and Taiwan.

What do Americans use instead of WhatsApp?

Facebook Messenger is the most-used social messaging app in the U.S., with 52% of the messaging app market share. WhatsApp is the second-most popular social messaging app in the country, used by 26% of American chatters.

Source: Statista

Which messaging app is used in Canada?

The most popular messaging app in Canada is Facebook Messenger. Seven out of 10 Canadians use Facebook itself, and 62% of those users are also on the Messenger app.

Find more global statistics about Facebook Messenger here.

Manage all your messages stress-free with easy routing, saved replies, and friendly chatbots. Try Hootsuite’s Inbox today.

Get a Free Demo

Save time on social messaging with automated responses, smarter workflows, and friendly chatbots — all in the Hootsuite Inbox.

How To Use Imessage Apps In Ios 10 Messages

Your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch lets you spruce up your messaging game with stickers, emoji, reactions, bubble and screen effects, animated expressions of your feelings and iMessage Apps for things like OpenTable reservations, Apple Music integration, animated GIF creation and more.

This tutorial details important things pertaining to third-party iMessage Apps, including finding and installing them in the App Store, organizing them on the Messages App Shelf, disabling those you seldom use and deleting ones you no longer need.

Quick introduction to iMessage Apps

Third-party iMessage Apps allow you to do many things without ever leaving your conversation that previously needed to be accomplished in one or more standalone apps. For instance, iMessage Apps from your favorite developers may let you create an animated GIF to send to a friend, schedule dinner and a movie, send payments, share a song and more—all within their custom interface inside of Messages.

Some interactive iMessage Apps—namely games—require both the recipient and the sender to have them installed on their device.

What are the system requirements for iMessage Apps?

iMessage Apps require an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 10 or later and the iMessage service. People on macOS Sierra can only receive output from iMessage Apps in the form of photo attachments. Mac users cannot interact with iMessage Apps nor can they download, use or send them to others.

Non-iMessage users also cannot interact with iMessage Apps.

What types of iMessage Apps are there?

There are two types of iMessage Apps available:

Bundled iMessage Apps—Distributed as part of their container app. You can deactivate bundled iMessage Apps in Messages independently of the container app, but they won’t be permanently removed from the device unless the container app is deleted, too. You can quickly re-activate any disabled iMessage Apps without re-downloading them from the App Store.

As evidenced on the below screenshot, standalone iMessage Apps are labeled with an “Only for iMessage” on their App Store page and they put an icon on the Home screen like regular apps.

Bundled iMessage Apps are distinguished from their standalone counterparts with an “Offers iMessage App” label in the Messages App Store. Bundled iMessage Apps don’t have their own Home screen icon.

Will iMessage Apps cost me money?

Like with other apps on the App Store, some iMessage Apps won’t cost you a dime while others may set you back 99 cents or more. Most branded standalone iMessage Apps cost some money, especially games. You should be able to find a decent selection of free iMessage Apps in the App Store.

How are iMessage Apps created and packaged?

iMessage Apps are basically iOS extensions, like Photo filters and keyboards.

Part of an existing app download

Bundled iMessage Apps can provide the same features as their standalone counterparts and are listed on the App Store in the same category and with the same description as their container iOS app.

Standalone iMessage Apps are allowed to implement some extra functionality, like Apple Pay and the In-App Purchase mechanism. Developers can list standalone iMessage Apps in any relevant category on the Messages App Store.

iMessage Apps adhere to Apple’s screening process and must be submitted for approval before they are permitted to show up in the App Store. You can learn about third-party iMessage Apps development on Apple’s website.

How to find and install iMessage Apps

You can find and download iMessage Apps the old-fashioned way—by browsing and downloading them directly in the App Store. Or, you can download and install them from a dedicated App Store section that’s accessible within the context of the Messages app itself.

1) Launch Messages and create a new conversation or tap an existing one in your conversation list.

2) Tap the App Store button to the left of the text field to open your app drawer.

3) Tap the App Shelf button in the bottom left corner, it resembles four ellipses in a grid.

4) Tap the Store button.

The built-in App Store for Messages pops up, letting you:

Browse featured iMessage Apps

Browsing iMessage Apps by category

Find specific iMessage Apps

5) Find an iMessage App you wish to download, then tap the Buy (if it’s paid) or Get button (if it’s free). The app will download to your device.

6) Dismiss the Messages App Store to start using your iMessage App.

If this is a bundled iMessage App, it’ll get downloaded to your device along with its container app. If it’s a standalone app, it will be downloaded standalone and its icon shall appear on the Home screen.

Finding specific iMessage Apps

If you know the iMessage app’s name, you can find it quickly on the store using a built-in search feature. Begin by tapping the magnifying glass icon in the top left corner of the Messages App Store.

Now type your query into the search field. We suggest using the word “iMessage app” to make your search more relevant and exclude downloadable stickers and other unrelated content from search results.

Re-downloading iMessage Apps

If you previously downloaded this particular iMessage app and wish to re-download it, you will see the cloud icon in place of of the Buy/Get button.

If you see “Installed” next to the name, as shown below, the iMessage App app is already installed on your device.

You can re-enable any bundled iMessage Apps via the App Store’s Manage tab without re-downloading them, provided their container app is currently installed on the device.

Their standalone counterparts must be re-downloaded to re-use them after disabling. Any standalone iMessage Apps you have on your device, including ones you removed, can be found in the App Store’s Purchased tab.

Bundled iMessage Apps won’t show up in your Purchased items because they are packaged as part of the container app.

For example, the Airmail iMessage app that lets you add photos from email attachments to you conversations is distributed as part of the Airmail app itself so you won’t see it listed separately in the Purchased section.

Conversely, The Weather Channel distributes its iMessage app as a standalone download so it’s listed alongside your existing Weather Channel for iOS app in the Purchased section.

Downloading iMessage Apps inline

When someone sends you an iMessage app in an iMessage and you currently don’t have it installed on your device, it will appear in the conversation with a hyperlinked label which denotes its App Store name.

You can tap either the label itself or the iMessage app thumbnail in the conversation to be taken right to its appropriate listing in the App Store. From there, you can download and add the app to Messages with a tap.

Browsing Featured iMessage Apps

Tap the Featured tab to see a list of featured iMessage Apps, stickers and other downloadable content for Messages that Apple’s editorial team has curated.

Browsing iMessage Apps by category

Entertainment

Food & Drink

Games

Lifestyle

Photo & Video

Productivity

Shopping

Social Networking

Stickers

Travel

Apple may add or remove built-in app categories over time.

How to use iMessage Apps in conversations

1) In Messages, tap a conversation in the list or create a new one.

2) Tap the Apps button (it looks like an App Store icon) to the left of the text field to open your Messages app drawer.

3) You can now:

Select a previously used iMessage app in Recents

Choose a specific iMessage app from App Shelf

Both these methods are described further below.

Selecting iMessage Apps from Recents

T app drawer defaults to displaying any recently-used iMessage Apps, stickers and other third-party content you have added to Messages.

Swipe left or right to flip through the recently used items until you find your desired app. Tap the arrow pointing upward to take Recents fullscreen.

Selecting iMessage Apps from App Shelf

If you’ve added lots of third-party content to Messages, Recents can become cluttered. To select a specific iMessage app faster, tap the App Shelf button in the bottom left corner (it resembles four ellipses in a grid).

Now swipe between pages of your downloaded iMessage Apps, stickers and other third-party content until you find an app you’d like to use.

Tap it, then choose any app-specific options you may be presented with.

4) Type an optional message, then hit the blue Send button.

iMessage Apps cannot be rotated, resized, stamped on chat bubbles or other items in the conversation like stickers. When you send an interactive iMessage app that the recipient does not have  installed on their  device, they can just tap its thumbnail in the conversation to download and start using the app right away.

How to organize iMessage Apps

You can reorder iMessages Apps on your App Shelf by way of dragging them around. iMessage Apps you no longer need can be temporarily disabled (bundled apps only) or permanently deleted form your device (both bundled and standalone apps).

Rearranging iMessage Apps on App Shelf

To rearrange iMessage Apps, tap and hold any item in App Shelf until the icons start to jiggle. You can now drag the icons around, relocate your most-used iMessage Apps to page 1 and more.

To move an icon between pages, drag it to either edge of App Shelf and wait until the next/previous page scrolls into view. Unfortunately, you cannot file iMessage Apps into folders inside App Shelf like you can do with ordinary apps on your Home screen.

Seeing freshly updated iMessage Apps

Any newly downloaded or updated iMessage Apps are listed under the New and Updated heading in the Messages App Store’s Manage tab so you can quickly identify those that may contain new content.

You’ll see a badge on both the Manage tab’s title and the Store button in App Shelf when any third-party Messages content has been updated.

Preventing Messages from adding iMessage Apps

By default, Messages installs and puts into app drawer any bundled iMessage Apps automatically as soon as you download their container app from the App Store.

To prevent this from happening, slide the switch Automatically Add Apps under the Messages App Store’s Manage tab to the OFF position.

This shall prevent Messages from automatically adding iMessage Apps to the Messages app drawer. Newly downloaded iMessage Apps will still add their respective toggles on the Manage tab, but they’ll be disabled rather than automatically enabled.

Disabling bundled iMessage Apps

You can temporarily disable bundled iMessage Apps through the built-in App Store’s Manage tab. Remember the distinction between disabling and uninstalling—disabling simply removes the app’s icon from App Shelf to reduce clutter and deactivates the Messages extension and slides its toggle on the store’s Manage tab to the OFF position.

This lets you reactivate any disabled iMessage app by toggling its switch in the Manage tab. Deleting the container app also removes its bundled iMessage component from the device.

How to delete iMessage Apps

You can delete iMessage Apps from Messages and your device in two ways:

Delete standalone iMessage Apps on the Home screen or through the Manage tab in Messages App Store

Disable bundled iMessage Apps directly and independently of their container app through the Manage tab or delete their container app on the Home screen

Deleting standalone iMessage Apps

1) Open Messages on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and tap a conversation in the list.

3) In the Messages app drawer, tap the App Shelf button in the bottom left corner that looks like four ellipses in a grid.

4) Tap the Store button in your App Shelf.

5) When the Messages App Store appears, tap the Manage tab.

6) To uninstall a desired iMessage App, slide its switch to the OFF position.

7) Tap Done to finish making the changes.

Standalone iMessage Apps cannot be temporarily disabled: they are permanently removed from the device as soon as their switch in the Manage tab is slid to the OFF position or their Home screen icon gets deleted.

Deleting bundled iMessage Apps

Because standalone iMessage Apps put an icon on your Home screen.

To remove them from the device, simply do what you would normally do when deleting any other app on your iPhone: press the Home button to get to the Home screen, enter the icon jiggle mode by holding your finger on any icon, then tap the “X” in the upper left corner of an icon of the standalone iMessage App you wish to delete.

Again, this only works with standalone iMessage Apps. Their bundled counterparts cannot be deleted this way as they don’t have a Home screen icon of their own.

Standalone and bundled iMessage Apps can be deleted more quickly by opening the Messages app drawer open, then tap and hold an app until you see the app icons jiggle and hit the “x” at the top-left corner.

To finish, press the Home button.

This is the same as toggling the switches in the store’s Manage tab, meaning removing a bundled app from the app drawer only disable the app whereas removing its standalone counterpart actually deletes its Messages extension from the system.

Have ideas for us?

10 Best Nft Apps For Android To Browse, Buy, And More

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are all the rage right now. It’s kind of like a spin on the modern art scene. You buy and collect original pieces of digital artwork. You can then sell them later if you want to. It’s a bit like collecting baseball cards. Some are very expensive and others really aren’t. However, there is always the thrill of owning an original piece of work. There are definitely pros and cons to it, but people seem to enjoy it. Here are the best NFT apps for Android.

The best NFT apps for Android

NFTs are non-fungible tokens. The part people have problems with is the fungible part. Fungible is an adjective that essentially means interchangeable or replaceable. All massed produced items have this fungible quality. If you and I both bought a Pixel 6 Pro, you wouldn’t know the difference between them if they were both sitting on a desk. Almost everything we buy is fungible because if it breaks, we can just buy an identical one at the store to replace it and it would be no different from the one we lost or broke.

Non-fungible means the opposite. A non-fungible item is one-of-a-kind, unlike no other, and visually distinguishable from all other items like it. Some examples include the original Mona Lisa, virtually anything that was custom made, diamonds, land, and literal, real-life snowflakes. In short, it’s unique, irreplaceable, and non-interchangeable.

Okay cool, so how do NFTs work?

AlphaWallet

Curate

Price: Free

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Curate is a gasless NFT and P2P marketplace app. Its claim to fame is being the first NFT app on the Apple App Store. The app lets you do a variety of things with NFTs. The features include the ability to browse existing NFTs, support for ERC721 and ERC1155, and the ability to buy and sell goods. It even lets you mint NFTs if you want to. It’s relatively small for now, but it has the potential to grow over time.

Enjin

Price: Free

Enjin is an up-and-coming non-custodial crypto wallet on mobile. It works for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many, many other cryptocurrencies. The app also has access to major NFT marketplaces through its inclusion of DApps like the other crypto wallets on this list. It also features gasless NFT purchases (via JumpNet) and you can manage your assets pretty easily. The UI is simple enough to use once you get used to it. It does everything it needs to do and it’s free to use.

See also: The best crypto wallets for Android

MathWallet

Price: Free

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

MathWallet does the same thing as Enjin and AlphaWallet. It lets you manage your cryptocurrency assets all in one place. It supports a number of cryptocurrencies, far more than we can list here. The app also boasts over 1,500 DApps for various transfers. Of course, that means you can access NFT marketplaces where you can buy and sell. Of course, with such a large selection, the DApps section can feel clunky at times. This one has both cloud and non-custodial capabilities in case you want both.

MetaMask

Price: Free

MetaMask is a hit-or-miss kind of app. When it works, it’s easily one of the best NFT apps around. However, it seems some people have some issues with this one. It’s a crypto wallet at heart with the ability to do a lot of other things. You can buy, sell, and surf for NFTs with it. There is also a desktop app if you want cross-platform support. The developers still seem to be working out some kinks, though, so make sure to read the Play Store reviews to make sure things are running smoothly. When they run smoothly, this app is quite nice.

OpenSea

Reddit

Talken

Price: Free / $0.99

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Talken is a multi-chain cryto wallet and one of the better NFT apps. It mostly works for Ethereum with support for a few others. This one is special because it focuses heavily on NFT features. The app itself has an NFT minting tool. You can mint an NFT from various chains and then sell it. You can, of course, buy NFTs as well if you want to go that route. Most crypto wallets focus more on the crypto part of the equation with NFT kind of tacked on. Talken is the opposite where it focuses more on NFTs and less on the day-to-day crypto stuff. It’s definitely worth a try for NFT enthusiasts.

Trust Wallet

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